The UK newspaper said the disclosure could lead to Facebook coming under increased scrutiny about the accuracy of its data and it comes as the company, along with other social media giants, came under pressure this week to explain whether their platforms spread fake news during the U.S. presidential election.
The latest quarterly earnings report from Facebook shows a 49 percent jump in advertising revenue from previous year, from $6.8 billion to $10.1 billion. The leading social network said it made a profit of $4.7 billion in the quarter that ended on Sept.30, a jump of 79 percent from the same period a year earlier. "I've directed our team to invest so much in security on top of the other investments we're making it will significantly impact our profitability going forward". "Protecting our community is more important than maximising our profits".
Investor enthusiasm may have been tempered by rising costs at the California-based internet giant and executives stressing the company is firmly in "investment mode" while predicting ad growth will slow. Quarterly advertisement revenue has more than doubled since 2015, and is rising at more than 40 percent year over year.
"They made a ton of money, but the Russian Federation investigation is clearly putting a cloud over everything for the moment", independent analyst Rob Enderle said.
The world's number one social network along with Twitter and Google is under pressure from USA politicians over its role in the last presidential election. This includes the already growing video sharing activities on Facebook's Instagram and WhatsApp, and content consuming through the recently-launched Watch tab, where users can watch shows like on traditional television.
The company said mobile ad revenue was 88% of all advertising revenue, up from 84% a year ago. Facebook also reported 2.07 billion monthly active users during the quarter, which also beat estimates of 2.06 billion.
While the 10% figure is relatively small compared to Facebook's massive network of users around the world, it still equates to roughly 207m duplicate accounts - quite apart from its additional 60m "fake" accounts.
Facebook reported cash available of $38.2 billion at the end of the quarter.
"So all told, that gets you to approximately - a little less than 150 million", Stretch said in response to questioning from Democratic Senator Mark Warner.